European Seismological Commission

In Memory of Urmas Luosto

Urmas4Professor Urmas Luosto passed away on January 23rd, 2016, a week before his 81st birthday. The former director of the Institute of Seismology, University of Helsinki had a long career as a seismologist.

Urmas Luosto had a long-lasting contribution to the studies of crustal structure, in particular deep seismic soundings. He initiated and took part in an international seismic deep seismic survey program in Finland. The long refraction sounding profiles included SVEKA81, BALTIC82, POLAR87, SVEKA91 and BABEL89. The analysis of the data revealed an exceptionally deep Moho discontinuity in central and southern Finland. The profiles were later complemented by the deep reflection profiles POLAR87 and BABEL90 as well as by tomography studies along the SVEKA profile in 1989 and SVEKALAPKO network in 1998-1999. He also participated in deep seismic sounding surveys across Europe. He took part in the European Geotraverse (1983-1990) that extended from the Nordic countries to the Mediterranean, in LT-7 (1987) and TTZ (1993) in Poland as well as in EUROBRIDGE (1994-1997) and POLONAISE (1997) in East-Central Europe.

He served in various international scientific committees and commissions, such as the Commission on Controlled Source Seismology and Sub-Commission on Deep Seismic Sounding of the ESC. He also belonged to the Group of Scientific Experts of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament and the Working Group B of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization.

Urmas Luosto was raised at Ristijärvi in northern Finland. He was educated at the University of Helsinki where he majored in physics. Before completing his Master’s degree in 1962 he worked at the Nurmijärvi Geophysical Observatory, southern Finland. He was appointed assistant seismologist at the Institute of Seismology, University of Helsinki, in 1961 and seismologist in 1970. In 1993-1998 he served as the director of the Institute of Seismology. He also lectured in seismology for three decades according to the curriculum of solid earth geophysics of the University of Helsinki and supervised several PhD theses in seismology. His publication record extends over four decades.

In his free time Urmas enjoyed classical music and fishing. Many colleagues, as well as his grandchildren, accompanied him on his fishing trips over the years. 





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From the ESC Working Groups:

Visit the website of the newest WG titled Harmonizing Internet Macroseismology in Europe 

Contribute to the Portal of the ESC WG on Communication here

Get to know the website of the FAULT2SHA Working Group and find out forthcoming activities! The WG promotes a new initiative, open to all researchers interested in contributing to discussions on topics that could improve the assessment of seismic hazard.


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What were the past General Assemblies of the ESC like? Find out! Interesting documentation has been made easily accessible.

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